Canada Post Workers May Strike on Monday October 22. See our blog for updates. Consider FedEx as an alternative.

News

October 11, 2018

0 comments

Posted in hydra, midi, sparkfun


SparkFun Music Instrument Shield Build

Adding a multitimbral MIDI SoundChip to Arduino

Part two of a multi-part blog post on building a MIDI synth instrument. 

The basic idea is to use 3 Arduino's to make a visual / sound instrument. 

Arduino 1) Send control data.

Arduino 2) Generate wav audio from MIDI input. 

Arduino 3) FFT EQ visualization. 

LET'S BEGIN !

Solder on Stackable headers. 

Careful to try get the headers aligned. ProTip is to put your stacking headers to the table & set an old shield underneath with pins facing up (into the receptacle end of the headers) to line them up for easy soldering. So a shield underneath this one in the photo below. 

I just went for it & tried to hold it still, so stacking headers came out a tiny bit wonky, but the pins still lined up perfectly with Arduino, so yay!

 

The chip driving this board is the VS1053, essentially the brain / heart / guts of a MIDI Synthesizer. I will admit one of my main reasons for building this is playing DOOM and other DOS games which can send MIDI to the shield. Modern update for an old SoundBlaster16 or  Roland Sound Canvas

And we're done. 

 

Stayed tuned for the next episode. 

October 04, 2018

0 comments

Posted in midi, sparkfun


SparkFun MIDI Shield Build

Control MIDI the old fashioned way. With knobs. 

Part one of a multi-part blog post on building a MIDI synth instrument. 

The basic idea is to use 3 Arduino's to make a visual / sound instrument. 

Arduino 1) Send control data.

Arduino 2) Generate wav audio from MIDI input. 

Arduino 3) FFT EQ visualization. 

Yes, it would be simper to do this with an Arduino Micro (or RPi3) + a teensy for similar functionality. But not as much fun. 

LET'S BEGIN !

Soldered the MIDI jacks first. Make sure to solder them flush to the board.

Since they need to withstand plugging cables in & out, good to get them perfect. OR make a case which takes some of the brunt of the insertion force. 

Soldered the rest of the surface components. This kit is relatively quick to assemble. 

The variable resistor traces are quite close to the push buttons so watch out for that. I may look at these solder joints again under a microscope. 

 

So theoretically you should use stackable headers, but the SparkFun Instrument board which I'll be sending signal to (from this) is pin incompatible, so using breakaway headers. Measure the length of the MIDI shield's headers & gently snap off what you need with a set of needle-nose pliers. 

Ideally you have an old unused shield around to act as a brace for soldering the header pins, but in a pinch can use a breadboard to keep pins in line.

Snap Male headers attached.

 

All done !

Really useful additional tutorials

MIDI Tutorial

MIDI Shield Hookup Guide

MIDI Wikipedia

Stay tuned (pun!) for the rest of the build of the Hydra instrument !